New Study Raises Questions About Technology Use in Schools
Contact: Kent Fischer, [email protected]
June 6, 2019
Technology use in classrooms has been growing around the world for the past several years. However, a new study by the Reboot Foundation questions if ed tech is really helping students.
A major analysis of international and U.S. assessment data shows the use of technology in schools may have a negative connection to student achievement, particularly for elementary school students who use such technology daily, according to a study by the Foundation.
“Our analysis shows that schools should limit computer use, and technology may be the least helpful for younger students still mastering some of the fundamentals of reading and writing,” said Helen Lee Bouygues, president of the Reboot Foundation and the report’s author.
Internationally, technology is not positively linked to student outcomes. The study found clear evidence of a negative relationship between nations’ academic performance and their students’ reported use of technology. These results were consistent across the math, reading, and science assessments.
In the U.S., the overall relationship between technology and outcomes was mixed. On nation exams, the results of the analysis varied widely among grade levels, assessments, and reported technologies. In some cases, the study found positive outcomes. In other cases, the results were negative.
There’s a clear negative relationship between tablets and reading outcomes.Fourth-grade students who reported using tablets in “all or almost all” classes scored 14 points lower on the reading exam than students who reported “never” using classroom tablets. This difference in scores is the equivalent of a full grade level, or a year’s worth of learning.
The Reboot Foundation analyzed the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international assessment, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a U.S. test known as “the Nation’s Report Card.” Note that while the research controlled for certain outside variables like wealth and prior performance, the results do not provide causal evidence.